We’re sitting at the dinner table on Christmas day. Somehow the subject came up about Ledo Pizza. I mentioned “Man… Mommy and I do not like Ledo’s! But it seems everybody in MD loves them for some reason!
My mom asks, “What’s wrong with Ledo’s?
Well, I think its just not good, that’s all. I mean, they only give you one pepperoni per slice of pizza, and its like a pepperoni cup, filled with grease, lol
Eewww daddy!
I mean, the last time I was there, I didn’t even get pizza, I got lasagna… And they served it to me in a bowl!
Toya looks up from her plate; “A bowl? come on now Ryan…
I’m serious! It was in a bowl, and it looked like soup, there was a layer of grease sitting on top of it. I literally soaked the top of the lasagna bowl up with some napkins… Hmmm, does that make me bourgeois bougie?” (I know “bourgeois” is the right spelling, but “bougie” just looks and flows better)
Toya contemplates; “Uhhhhh
And then Nariah chimes in; “No daddy, that doesn’t make you bougie!
It doesn’t? Why thank you Nariah!
It makes you particular!

Now the whole table is laughing at me. I think even Toryn was laughing too. And the whole time Nariah has this look that said “That was good wasn’t it daddy? Come on… give me some credit!

Hmph!

Advertisements

Its Sunday afternoon. We’re leaving the indoor pool from Toryn’s make-up swimming lessons. Normally after lessons during the week, Nariah goes to Subway for dinner. She asks can we do Subway for lunch. Toya replies “Subway is for people who actually get IN the water, did you get in the water?
No… but can we still get it? I’m hungry.
Toryn can get Subway, but I don’t think he wants any, so we’re gonna eat at home.
Please, I would really like some Subway.
Daddy bought a lot of groceries last night, we’re gonna eat at home.
That’s right, I spent $228 dollars last night at Giant, we have plenty of food to eat at home.
There’s about a 4 second moment of silence in the back seat, but you can hear the gears turning in her brain.

I was gonna suggest that you use mommy’s money to get Subway…

This girl gets her manipulation on!


A couple of years ago, we went to my parents for Thanksgiving. They didn’t have their deep fryer anymore and I was broken-hearted. I refused to go back to regular baked turkey, so I embarked on a grilling method since they still had their grill. My mom didn’t want me experimenting with her baked turkey so she bought me a turkey breast to experiment on. Since they have a normal grill and not a smoker, I used a technique to create a makeshift smoker. I will say this… the bacon weave turkey was the first to be devoured. 😮

  • One turkey breast, cleaned and skinned.
  • Turkey injector marinade (I used Creole Butter)
  • Your favorite rub (I used garlic powder, Jane’s Krazy Salt, and a little bit of oregano)
  • A pack of pork bacon (Turkey bacon simply does NOT have enough fat, it will crisp up and break apart while on the grill)
  • Apple juice (In a spray bottle. Any spray bottle from the walmart travel hair section will do)
  • Olive Oil
  • Wood chips soaked in water overnight

If you have the time to let the turkey sit overnight, definitely do the turkey prep part first and let it sit in the fridge. Following instructions on the injector marinade you are using, inject the breast meat and apply the marinade while withdrawing the needle. The guidelines on the bottle usually say half a bottle per turkey, but I use the whole bottle for this breast. Lightly coat turkey breast in olive oil and apply rub liberally to the meat.

On a large cutting board, prepare to start bacon weaving. line up 7-8 strips (however many strips it takes to equal the length of one strip of bacon laid across lengthwise) of bacon vertically side by side and starting at bottom (or top), lay one strip of bacon horizontally, going over and under. It may help after this first row to put toothpicks on the end to keep the ends in place. Fold each vertical strip that is on the “under” side of the horizontal strip down over that horizontal strip so that only the “over” strips are still lined up. Lay another horizontal strip of bacon above previous horizontal strip and over the vertical strips. Now fold back “up” the vertical strips  you folded down before and then fold down the strips that were previously “up”. Repeat this step until to you get to the end and you should have a nice bacon weave. There are other ways to weave but this worked out easy and efficiently for me. It will definitely help to have extra hands to help you transfer this to the turkey or you can lay the turkey breast-side down on the weave and then pin the edges of the bacon to the turkey with toothpicks. (Let sit overnight in fridge if you have the time available)

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling with a drip pan in the middle. With aluminum foil, put a handful of the soaked woodchips into the middle and loosely roll this up into a tube, leaving the ends open (so that the smoke can escape). Be prepared to either have multiple tubes ready or to refill the ones your using throughout the cooking process. Place one tube on each side of the grill, directly on top of the coals. Place the turkey into the center of the grate and close lid. Spray with apple juice every 10-15 minutes, but very quickly as to not let the heat/smoke escape. (The apple juice add flavor and helps keep the bacon from cooking too crispy or burning. When the bacon looks nice and done, after about 25-30 minutes, remove turkey and wrap with foil and then return to grill and cook for another 20-25 minutes. The time depends on the size of your bird and this was just a breast. For a whole turkey, say 15 pounder, you’re looking at about 3 hours total cook time. And always check the meat to make sure its done deep down inside.

Remove turkey to a dish and unwrap from foil into dish. You will want a dish with high edges because as soon as you cut into the turkey, juices will be flowing. Make sure you get your plate first before serving everyone else, they may not leave any for you.  Enjoy!  (This also works with cornish hens).
The slideshow below shows the detailed steps. I apologize for not having a picture in process of the weaving, I did this 3am while everyone was sleep.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I know most parents brag about their kids. Its only natural right? Sometimes the bragging can be an over the top “my kid is better than your kid” type, sometimes it can be the “proud parent” type, and sometimes it can just simply be “sheer amazement”.

Nariah is my first child. Things as simple as when they say “excuse me” or tell their first joke feels like a big deal because it’s your first child. Now there comes a point where you get those “come on now, is this for real?” moments and that’s what this is, at least for me and my wife it is. We’ve just had a parent teacher conference with Nariah’s kindergarten teacher. She’s reading exceptionally well and is pretty good at writing. Although the teacher mentioned Nariah would write the bare minimum when it came to sentences because she wants to be finished quickly and move on. If the exercise was for the students to write what they did this past weekend, Nariah would write something like “I went home. I had fun.” and leave it at that. Nothing along the lines of variance. The teacher was trying to get Nariah to get more creative with her sentences. Now this conference happened 3 days before this “sheer amazement” moment.

We’re visiting my grandparents in NC, and everyone is kind of doing their own thing. Nariah asks her granddad for some paper and something to write with. Over the course of the next few minutes I walk by and see her kneeling on the floor writing and drawing intently. “What are you doing baby?
I’m writing a story and illustrating it too! I’m going to read it to you guys
Oh ok, cool!

Now at this point my “Oh ok” was really expecting a simple “See spot… See spot run” type story. Oh, was I ever wrong. With Nariah’s permission she has given me the rights to share her work. This is a book she wrote all by herself with out any help. She did a pretty good job phonetically spelling a lot of words. Aside from her needing to “slow down” a little and finish out the words we know she knows already, this was awesome in my opinion. The concept of this story alone is a far cry from the 3 word sentences we had just heard about. I’ve added captions showing what she says on each page underneath each picture from when she read it to us for the first time. Click on the first picture to open up the gallery.


There isn’t must backdrop or prelude to this one as this was a short and completely random outburst from our daughter Nariah. Hmmm, let me go on a tangent for a second here. As a parent I’ve seen a few posts online on some parenting websites with comments using “DD” and “DS”. I’ve never actually paid it any mind until a co-worker of the brand new parent persuasion asked me about it. So we proceeded to Google this acronym so that we could remain “hip” and “current”. Darling Daughter and Darling Son?!?!?!!? Really? Who says that? I tried vocalizing “Man, I was almost late to pick up my Darling Daughter from school” and it just sounds so much cooler saying “Nariah” or even  just “Daughter”. Sorry, I’m back. I just had a mental relapse when I thought; what if I actually typed “this was a short and completely random outburst from our Darling Daughter Nariah”? LOL

And back to the random outburst. We’re driving home from visiting the grandparents in NC. Completely out of the blue, Nariah says :
We have a very silly family…. And I think its cool! I love it!
And immediately she goes back to playing with her leappad explorer.

Huxtables, we’re taking over!


I went to a pasta themed game night the other night and I brought lasagna as my dish. It turned out to be a success with a few folks asking for the recipe, so here it is. I don’t like ricotta cheese, blech, so this is a straight mozzarella version. I apologize for not having any pics, I may have to update the blog in the future when I make it again.

1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
large bag of mozzarella cheese
45 oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu’s chunky garden)
bag of raw spinach, or baby spinach
one or two links of Eckrich skinless turkey sausage sliced into quarters(depends on how meaty you want it)
small can of mushrooms
lasagna noodles
oregano
sugar
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Pre-heat oven to 350. Brown turkey sausage in a skillet and brown ground beef (turkey) in a separate pot. Drain beef/turkey and return to pot. Add turkey sausage and season with garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Add spaghetti sauce and stir. Reduce heat once sauce gets hot so it doesn’t splatter.  Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar as well as the mushrooms and stir.

In a large pot, boil lasagna noodles as instructed on box. (Break noodles to a size to fit your casserole dish if you have a square one) When noodles are ready, spray large casserole dish with olive oil spray or any other type of cooking spray. Spread a “light” layer of sauce. Line noodles on top of the sauce. Spread another layer of sauce, add layer of spinach leaves, and lastly a generous layer of cheese. Repeat with each layer depending on how deep your dish is, three is usually the max.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, watching at 20 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted on top. Enjoy!


It was the first fairly chilly weather on this particular morning I left for work. I grabbed the first medium weight jacket I felt out of the closet and it happened to be my “sporty” UNC jacket.
That evening I picked up Nariah from her after school care and we’re walking to the car talking about the day like normal. After getting her all buckled in the back seat, I pull off when she starts this dialogue :

What’s under your jacket daddy?
What? What do you mean?
What do you have on under your jacket?
Oh… Ummm, my blue and white button up shirt. Why do you ask?
Oh, I was wondering if you went to work today.
Ha ha, yes baby I went to work. What made you wonder that? My jacket?
I just wanted to make sure you wore something professional looking in case it wasn’t your day off!

Sigh, this kid here. I have to be on my Ps and Qs at all times! I’m noticing now if she sees me dressing in the morning she can tell when its my “Off” Friday and that gives her reason to inquire if I can pick her up early to go to a movie or something. Slick I tell you.


Most of you know that Nariah is a avid Cowboys fan. Well being here in Redskins country is bound to be full of interaction of opposing interests. Oddly enough, her afterschool program has staff that is split between the two teams. Nariah has taken a liking to one in particular who is down with the Cowboys. When I went down to the Cowboys home opener a few weeks ago, the request was made for me to find some nice Cowboys girly socks to bring back for Nariah’s new “protector”.
I didn’t find any socks down in Dallas, but… I did find this nice pack of Cowboys earrings; a set of three. A silver and blue star, a silver and pink star, and silver and blue Cowboys jerseys. I figured I could let her and “protector” figure out which ones they wanted to keep/share.  When I picked Nariah up after getting back, the deal was worked out that Nariah would keep the two stars and the “protector” would keep the jerseys. Kinda how I pictured it working out as Nariah really liked the stars.

*Flash forward a week*

I pick up Nariah and as we walk thru the halls, she says that another staff member is a dallas fan and asked did I get her something too. “I’m sorry boo, I didn’t think about that. “Protector” asked me about the socks, so I really only thought about that particular request.
Oh ok, I wish we had gotten something else to give “Side Protector” too.
Hmmmm, well…. you have 2 sets of earrings…. you could always give her one of those?

Now at this point, the sound of the footsteps went from clip-clip clop-clop to just clip clop. It didn’t really register to me until I held the door open for Nariah to walk thru that she wasn’t walking. She was still in the hallway… looking at me with this “Say what?” look.
She finally comes and we near the car. I know exactly what she’s thinking, but I’m trying not to laugh because I don’t how Nariah would take me laughing at this point.
Baby, what’s wrong? You said you wanted to get her something right?
She gives me this look that says “Daddy, don’t make me do it!”

Ummmmmmm, how about… we just get her something when we go to Dallas again? Yeah, lets do that.
I really wish I had a picture of her turned up face as she said this, classic comedy.
Whatever you want baby!

We both then bust out laughing as we put on her seatbelt and drive off.


On our trip to Skyline Drive and the Luray Caverns, we did the typical road games to pass the time and entertain each other. Out of the blue, Nariah starts beatboxing. She actually came up with a good beat, so I started to bob my head a little.
Daddy, don’t you like my beat?
Yeah Nariah, its pretty funky!
Aren’t you gonna freestyle then?
Oh, Ok, if that’s the kinda party this is then…. let’s do it!

So I graced her ears with a silly freestyle as only daddy can do, and then passed the mic to mommy. She said a few rhymes and then passed the mic to Nariah in the back. This went on for about 3 rounds passing the mic back and forth, with us pretty much just freestyling about any and everything that had happened on the trip.

At the end, Nariah asks : “Mommy, who won?
Who won? This was a contest? Oh you know daddy was the best!
Yes daddy, this was a game show. Mommy, who won? Daddy or me?
Hmmm, it was tough…. but the winner is………… Nariah!!!!!!

What? Nariah??? Now ya’ll know that daddy was on point!

Daddy….. You need to get more talent and some skills to beat me!

*Pause*

I look over to Toya. “Did she just say I need to get some talent… AND some skills?
Ha ha ha, yes, she did, hahaha
Heeheeheee, that was good huh daddy?

I don’t remember if I answered her or not. My feelings may have been hurt too much, lol.


On Tuesdays, I play basketball and I take Nariah with me until Toya picks her up. Now that we’ve switched to school from daycare, the pickup arrangements have changed. The school is right by the house so it actually just makes sense to pick her up and then go home and change and then head to basketball instead of coming with all my clothes like I used to.

The first time trying this new method, Nariah asked me to get her hula hoop and jump rope. Nothing wrong there, but I failed to mention I was changing my clothes. Nariah wanted to stay in the outside while I went outside to “get her stuff”. When I came back outside : “What happened to your clothes? Why did you change
Oh I changed so I wouldn’t have to change at the gym, this would be faster
Ooooooh…… OK……

Fast forward a week to yesterday. I pick Nariah up from school and as we walk back to the car, I remind her that its basketball day. She’s a little excited and she asks are we going home first.
Daddy, are you going to change clothes again?
Not this time baby, We’re running a little behind today
OK good!
Why do you say that?!?
You took FOREVER last time. I thought you had died or something!

Now I know death isn’t funny. But I couldn’t help but laughing at this one. The innocence of kids these days.